The morning is off to a good start. Arose at 5:30 (after a late night last night) had a pleasant swim as the sun came up, and then my quiet time in God's Word. Now awaiting the others to get ready and depart for the Orange County Convention Center here in Orlando.
Due to a flat tire and accompanying difficulties on the Florida Turnpike, our arrival was delayed in Orlando. We arrived in time for a lunch reservation that Daughter in Law, Michelle had made, and then came to check in to the rented house. While Linda, Michelle, and the boys unpacked, Jay and I headed for "Tire Kingdom" to get another tire for the church van. The metal "S" from a bungee strap lying in the highway punctured two holes near the edge of the tire, so plugging it was not an option. By the time we got all that done, we were able to get to the Convention Center just as the evening session was getting underway.
Best I could tell, the Pastor's Conference had mostly been a pep rally for the Great Commission Task Force's Report which will be delivered this afternoon. I did not hear each speaker, of course, but what I did hear last night from Ronnie Floyd and Mac Brunson was troubling. Floyd, who is the chairman of the Task Force put heavy pressure on the Messengers to pass the recommendations that the Task Force will bring to the floor today. Failure to do so, would indicate our unwillingness to carry out the plan of God. Mac Brunson, Pastor of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, FL, made it plain that these men who are leaders of our Convention had reached down to where we are to lift us up to where God wants us to be. The whole thing was unseemly, and one State Convention official told me that this kind of behavior in the Pastor's Conference was unprecedented.
Now, I am not personal friends with any of the Task Force members, but I have met a few of them. They are men and women of great reputation and many accomplishments. Many of these are men whom I respect and have admired for many years. But in the Madison Avenue like campaign to push their recommendations through, one would think this committee had been called by God at a burning bush, rather than being hand picked and appointed by Convention President, Johnny Hunt! While I appreciate the work, prayer, time, and money (lots and lots of money) spent on this task (for which I voted, by the way), we all need to remember that what they are presenting to us are RECOMMENDATIONS, not inspired edicts from the Almighty, etched in stone by His omnipotent finger.
I can support most of the recommendations, but I can see little that most of the recommendations have to do with the Great Commission. It is about methodology. We all agree on the Great Commission! It is our mission,! This report just seems to be somewhat self serving to some mega churches, and putting much more emphasis on designated giving. It appears to target NAMB, The Executive Committee, and the State Conventions, and simply adds more Cooperative Program money to the International Mission Board. While the IMB's work is immensely important, it in itself, is not "The Great Commission". It is an important part of it, but the Great Commission involves more than JUST Evangelism. I don't like the direction this thing has taken, and I am deeply troubled in my spirit about the "us against them" vibrations. Dr. Floyd's impassioned remarks last night left the clear impression that anyone who voted against the whole package, is voting against the Great Commission. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
The whole thing reminds me of a conversation that took place between my son, Jay, and his older son, Quint, a few months ago. There was a discussion going on about some issue, and Quint was paying close attention to the adult conversation. Jay asked ten year old Quint, what his opinion was in the matter.
Quit gave him his opinion, and Jay promptly said, "No. That is wrong."
I love what Quint replied.
"No, you asked for my opinion. That's what I gave you. It's neither right or wrong. It is my opinion."
I would pray that all of our SBC brethren might take a deep breath today and remember exactly what the GCTF report is - an opinion.
The nearly 10,000 messengers all have their own opinions. Let us prayerfully consider the options, and let us vote on each of the recommendations. But most of all, may the Lord's will be done, and may He be glorified.
On another note, my friend and fellow West Virginia pastor, Jim Drake, will be nominated today for First Vice President. I wish him well and look forward to voting for him.
Well, Jay is ready and we're off! Will post again later tonight, and may tweet a little through the sessions today. Check it out at pastoradkins/twitter.